While in-person concerts may still seem like a thing of the past, indie rockers Hippo Campus put on a virtual show for Michigan State students Tuesday night.
The virtual concert, which welcomed students to celebrate the start of the spring semester, was sponsored by ASMSU, Impact Radio, the Residence Halls Association and the University Activities Board.
The headliners, Minnesota five-piece band Hippo Campus, are an indie rock group with over two million monthly listeners on Spotify. They have released two studio albums — Landmark in 2017 and Bambi in 2018 — and two collections of demos.
The band was originally supposed to perform on-campus at the 2020 Spring Concert with singer-songwriter Daya, but the event was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite complications onset by the pandemic — the available concert venues on campus being exchanged for Zoom — Film Studies and Creative Advertising Sophomore Faith Stevens said she still had a good time at the show.
“The concert was a lot of fun,” Stevens said. “It wasn’t as fun as in-person obviously, but I'm glad we could have a zoom concert anyway. It’s better than nothing.”
Stevens said the atmosphere of being at an in-person event was emulated through the performers.
“I loved their lead up to the songs … because it was like a real concert experience when artists hint at the next songs they’re going to play,” Stevens said.
Fisheries and Wildlife Senior Gia Haddock, who has been a fan of the group for around five years, said the virtual performance came pretty close to how she had seen the band perform in-person before.
“It was just so wonderful to see them because the way that they play together as a band has always been so consistent and so spontaneous and energy-filled,” Haddock said. “They just love what they’re doing, and you can really see it.”
For some students at the concert, however, the best part came after the fact in the form of “Hippo Campus Fanz,” a GroupMe chat where the attendees could mingle among themselves during and after the event.
Haddock said it was nice to talk to other fans like one would at a physical concert.
“It was really nice to talk to people who were also big fans and just like a fangirl over the band with other people so it wasn’t just me sitting in my room alone watching it.”
Aside from talking about Hippo Campus, however, the group chat allowed students to socialize and make new friends with at least one shared interest as them.
“The people that joined (the GroupMe) are so nice and supportive and I’m glad I joined it,” Stevens said. “I definitely think I’ve met some friends from it which is really nice because I’ve been living at home this year because of covid and this was the only way I got to meet new people pretty well.”
According to James Madison Freshman Adrianna Roth, the concert made her feel more comfortable in virtually attending MSU.
“That concert and the group chat made from it was the first time I had ever felt comfortable/happy about being ‘in’ college,” Roth said.
Since Roth has only been online so far, it’s been really hard for her to feel like she is a part of the MSU community.
“The safe-space vibes of the other students gave off while we all virtually mingled really boosted my confidence that I will be able to find comfort at MSU,” Roth said. “I am so very glad that I decided to attend the concert and I am very grateful to have listened to truly great music while making some new friends.”
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